It is no coincidence that the artistic director of the Cyprus Youth Symphony Orchestra (SONK), George Kountouris, is the president of the “Russian party” and an excellent candidate for DIKO.
It is also no coincidence that he is being checked for heaps of irregularities by the Audit Office and Odysseas Michailidis is meeting with him, ostensibly to fight corruption. The fact that a report by the Audit Office on the Symphony Orchestra Foundation remains in the drawers, without being completed for publication, would be naive to believe that it is something accidental.
The fact that Mr. Kountouris receives the full support of the president of DIKO, when issues concerning him are discussed in Parliament and the law firm “Tassos Papadopoulos” undertakes the legal representation of the Symphony Orchestra, is perhaps something that should not be considered random.
All this tangle of possible entanglement, with allegations of parallel embezzlement of public money, is recorded in a draft report of the Audit Office, but also in a letter from members of the board of the Cyprus Symphony Orchestra Foundation (ISOK), addressed to the President of the Republic the Attorney General, the Auditor General and the Minister of Finance.
The permanent conductor
G. Kountouris had signed a fixed-term employment contract as artistic director and conductor of SONK in 2013 with an expiration date at the end of 2015. The contract provided for the right to renew for another three years. When Mr. Kountouris was called to sign a contract renewal, he refused to do so, claiming that he had become an employee for an indefinite period of time. It should be noted that Article 4 of his contract explicitly states: “Fixed-term contract: The Artistic Director accepts and agrees that this contract is for a fixed period of time and that the specificity and nature of his work justifies the certain duration of such a contract” .
The previous BoD of ISOK had decided to announce the position of artistic director of SONK, but Mr. Kountouris appealed to the Labor Dispute Tribunal to block the process, asking to be recognized as an employee of indefinite duration. Obviously not by chance, the president of DIKO Nikolas Papadopoulos, in his speech in Parliament, tabled an amendment to the supplementary budget in July 2018, requesting the approval of the parliamentary Education Committee to hire an artistic director. In fact, tension was created and the session was interrupted to calm the spirits. When “P” pointed out the paradox, the general auditor Odysseas Michailidis wrote in a twitter post: “Before the Audit Committee on 13.9.2018 I said that the specific person can not remain in this position.”
And while Mr. Kountouris refused to leave his chair as provided in his contract, he changed the board. of ISOK and suddenly a legal opinion was presented at a session which was unsigned and did not even bear the logo of the law firm that had prepared it. That opinion stated that Mr. Kountouris' contract is considered to be of indefinite duration after he was employed for a period of more than 30 months. The BoD asked Mr. Kountouris to withdraw his appeal to the Labor Disputes Court and recognized him as an employee of indefinite duration! The draft report of the Audit Office states that “due to mishandling, the employment status of the artistic director was changed indefinitely, thus violating the terms of the contract signed by both parties”.
The gr. “Tassos Papadopoulos”
And while it remained a mystery as to who had written the convenient anonymous report on Mr. Kountouris, the mystery was solved. On August 13, 2019, the treasurer of the board of ISOK signed a letter of commitment with the law firm “Tassos Papadopoulos” to undertake the legal representation of ISOK. Although this happened in August, the agreement had retroactive effect from July 1, 2019 (!) So as to cover the convenient opinion for Mr. Kountouris that was presented at a meeting of July 25, 2019. The preliminary report of the Audit Office states that: “In the minutes of the BoD. does not mention anything related to the appointment of the above office (Tassos Papadopoulos) as legal advisor of the institution. Also, no decision of the BoD was identified. regarding the opinion presented at the meeting of 25.7.2029, while the minutes show that the BoD he was not informed about the relevant opinion, he was only informed afterwards “.
The contract with the law firm “Tassos Papadopoulos” was signed by the treasurer. However, the right to represent the board. has only the president. The preliminary report of the Audit Office points out that “in the duties of the treasurer there is no corresponding provision in the articles of association, while it was not found that the treasurer has been given a relevant authorization by the institution. As a result, the whole process for concluding the agreement may not have been done properly. “
A lot of money to lawyers
ISOK for years had a legal advisor the law firm “A. Poetis & Co. DEPE “, which informed on May 24, 2019, that it will renew the cooperation agreement from 6/6/2019 to 5/6/2020. The amount allocated annually to the office “A. Poet “was set at 1,904 euros. However, on July 15, 2019, the office “A. Poet “is informed that his collaboration with ISOK is ending. The BoD signed an agreement with the office “Tassos Papadopoulos” with a fee of 5,950 euros per year (ie 4,000 euros more than what they gave) plus 200 euros per hour for the provision of additional services. In total, in the first year of the cooperation, ISOK paid 13,000 euros to the “Tassos Papadopoulos” office.
The Audit Office pointed out in its preliminary report that for amounts over 5,000 euros, no direct assignments can be made, but a bidding process should be followed, which was not done and the work was given to the “Tassos Papadopoulos” office.
Additional information states that the BoD buys from the office “Tassos Papadopoulos” and minutes writer services at an additional cost, despite the fact that this should be done by the secretary of the board. or be assigned to an ISOK administrator. And as if that were not enough… they decided to hire a stenographer too!
Odysseus is not in a hurry
And while the BoD of ISOK and the artistic director of SNOK are under control by the Audit Office for the years 2018-2019, on May 9, 2018 Odysseas Michailidis holds a meeting in his office with G. Kountouris, who had the hat of the party president EOP (Russian party) to discuss how to fight corruption together! One of the founders of Wargaming, Ivan Mihnevic, who had acquired Cypriot citizenship through the KEP, also participated in that meeting. Mr. Michaelides recently discovered that the citizenships given to Wargaming executives were irregular, but in 2018 he was discussing with one of those executives how to jointly fight corruption, even though the audit had preceded by the Audit Office in 2016 at the Ministry of Interior… without finding anything reprehensible!
In the meantime. The preliminary report of the Audit Office for the Symphony Orchestra is dated November 16, 2020 and we are already in March 2021 and the board. of the Symphony has not met to comment. The auditor general, who is accustomed to giving ultimatums to ministers to receive answers, does not seem to be in a hurry to proceed with the publication of the report. Unless of course she has the fate of other reports that have never seen the light of day.
Tomorrow in “P”
- Orgy of irregularities with increases and bonuses in ISOK.
- How much does G. Kountouris get to manage.
- Expensive campsites… in hotels for friends.
- Dalaras, Protopsalti and ticket revenues.
A young man reported to the Police a monk for sexual harassment from the age of 12 and for 10 years
Golden passports in the marina of Ayia Napa – Photographs the involvement of President Odysseus